Nutrition plays an important role in maintaining adequate energy levels during workouts and physical activity. However, it is very common for people to overestimate the amount of calories they burn causing them to consume higher levels of nutrients before working out than is necessary. Having a small snack with balanced nutrient content (carbs, protein and fat) before exercise is the best approach. Eating before and after you workout is also a great way to avoid becoming overly hungry later and potentially overeating.
Working out on an empty stomach can sometimes lead to upset stomach or nausea due to the stirring up of stomach acid. It can also lead to general fatigue. The amount of fuel necessary before a workout is different for everyone, so pay attention to how your body feels! Start your pre-workout snack ~1 hour before you begin. If 1 hour in advance isn’t possible, go light on the portion size!
Here are 10 pre-workout snack ideas to set you on the right path of properly fueling your physical activity!
1. ½ Banana on one slice of whole grain toast
2. Spoonful of Nut butter and ½ cup strawberries
3. ¼ cup granola with ½ cup Greek yogurt
4. Low Fat string cheese and a small apple
5. ¼ cup nuts (almonds, cashews) and ½ cup berries
6. ½ cup cottage cheese and a stone fruit (nectarine, apricot, peach)
7. ½ cup Trail mix (w/ dried fruit and nuts)
8. Spoonful peanut butter with ~5 celery sticks
9. Small granola bar (with moderate protein (3-5g)) i.e. Larabar
10. 4-6 Crackers (any) and a spoonful of nut butter
Note: Never forget hydration! Drinking plenty of water is key to maintaining energy during physical activity!
Written By: Amy Ellithorpe-Bruant, Dietetic Intern